Morse-Ackley withdraws candidacy from Cortlandville town board election

Cortlandville resident Peter Morse-Ackley announced Thursday morning via a news release that he has withdrawn his democratic candidacy from Cortlandville town board in this year’s general election.

Peter Morse-Ackley Former 2021 Cortlandville Town Board Democratic Candidate. (Photo Source: Family Counseling Services of Cortland County website).

During a phone call with the Cortland Voice Thursday morning, Morse-Ackley noted he “didn’t really want to run,” but he was asked to run for the position by Cortland County Democratic Committee Chairperson Tim Perfetti, his democratic running mate Pam Jenkins (a town board candidate), and Doug Withey (a town supervisor candidate).

“The Democratic party needed a strong candidate and they felt I could do that,” Morse-Ackley said. “Deep down, they didn’t have anyone else. I told them I don’t like when people run unopposed. If they didn’t have somebody, they could put me on the ballot.”

Perfetti said on Thursday he didn’t see Morse-Ackley’s withdrawal coming.

“He’s a bright guy,” Perfetti said. “He would’ve been a great addition to the (Cortlandville town) board with his attention to details.”

Morse-Ackley mentioned in his release that one of the reasons for withdrawing was “about the way politics and town government are run here in (the area).”

“Over the course of the campaign (Peter) has expressed he’s less than pleased about that situation,” Perfetti said in response to Morse-Ackley’s comment in the release. “I can see in this day and age where that perception can be a very real one for people.”

Morse-Ackley believes he can push to make changes on the “outside instead of the inside,” referring to taking action as a community resident over being a town board member.

“The lack of involvement from the public in the way the town government operates, and the access of information to the public is not right,” he said. “The price of being involved and the standards I’d have to keep up with, there’s no way I can do that.”

Perfetti mentioned that despite Morse-Ackley’s decision to not run in the election, he is still listed on the ballot. If successful in terms of votes, Morse-Ackley can still be elected to the town board, Perfetti added.

“That’s the mechanism of the process,” Perfetti said.

Despite still being on the ballot, Morse-Ackley ultimately could choose not to take his position on the town board, Perfetti said.

With Morse-Ackley bowing out of the election, this leaves Jenkins to run alone for a seat on the town board against Republican candidates Jeff Guido (currently on the town board) and Gregory Leach. The trio of candidates are running for two spots on the town board.

“I think she’s a good candidate,” Morse-Ackley said of Jenkins. “People need to pay attention to the things she says and the issues that she’s raising.”

Perfetti said that Morse-Ackley “indicated that he didn’t want to participate in what it takes to campaign.”

“We tell them what it is they need to do,” Perfetti said, who detailed how the committee prepares candidates. “Some of the expectations are that you have to do the things within the blueprint or a playbook.”

Morse-Ackley said he appreciated the Cortlandville residents for “having faith in me,” adding that the system in the town government is “broken.”

“The community shouldn’t have to deal with this type of behavior between our elected representatives,” he said. “I thought maybe I could change that, but I can’t.”